Thursday, December 11, 2014

He's Here!

We are so very happy to announce that our darling son has arrived!!  Hooray, Hooray! 

So, without further ado, we would like to introduce you to the newest member of our family.

World, say hello to:

Bruin Henley 

Birth Date: 12-6-2014
Birth Time: 5:38 AM via C-section
Weight: 7 pounds 12 ounces
Length: 20 3/4 inches
Labor duration: Began laboring at 7 AM on December 5th via Petosin induction.
 Ended December 6th at 5:38 via C-section

Stay tuned for another blog post (hopefully in the near future) with lots of pictures as well as the delivery story for this little guy. 

Most folks know by now that my husband and I prefer names that are less common for our kiddos.  Bruin is a name that I have kept in my secret stash of names for nearly ten years. A friend that I worked with many years ago mentioned that he liked the name and that he hoped to use it someday if he ever had a son.  I immediately liked the name as well.  My fondness of the name is not related to sports in any way in case you are wondering.  Yes, I did grow up in California and I am a "fan" of the UCLA Bruins but, I haven't kept up with them at all over the years. We simply like the name.  It's masculine, strong, unique, represents our home state and our family does enjoy sports so it is fitting.  Perhaps someday our son will play a sport:). That would be fun!

Henley immediately jumped out at my husband and I after we read that one of it's meanings is, "son of a boat lover."   If you know my husband even a little you know that this is perfect.  I liked how Bruin and Henley flowed together and that sealed the deal for me.

Plus Don Henley is the lead singer, drummer for the Eagles and you all know this Momma loves her some classic rock.  Lastly, Henley is a cool shirt so yah.  It's a cool name:).

  One thing is certain, my husband and I put a lot of thought into our son's name and it wasn't easy to keep it a secret for nearly 10 months let me tell you!

 I didn't get to call him by name as often as I would have liked while he was in my tummy because I was afraid that I might give the name away if I got too comfortable.

Soooooo, I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it felt to call him by name, in person, the moment he was placed in my arms.

 "Hello my sweet Bruin.  Welcome to the world my little prince."

We know that God has great things in store for our son!  We pray that our son will grow to be a man full of faith, honor, integrity, joy and love.  We pray that He will seek the Lord with all of his heart all of the days of His life.  We pray for health, strength and protection over our little one.  We are so thankful for every day that God allows us to shepherd our son's heart.

We love you sweet boy! 
Welcome to our family. 
Daddy, Mommy and big sister Daisy 

Thank you all for being so supportive and encouraging throughout our pregnancy and now as we welcome our second child.  We are so blessed to have so many generous, kind and wonderful people in our lives!

Stay tuned for the birth story, many more pictures and all of the juicy details of our future family adventures.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Just Days To Go

Oh my golly, it's baby due date week folks!  

I wouldn't say that this pregnancy has gone by quickly for me but, on the other hand I always feel shocked when I reach the end of the line.  Seriously...I'm in shock.  lol 

People ask me often if I am "ready," and my feeling on that is that I actually do feel as ready as one can be to go into painful labor and then to welcome a new baby and all the change that they bring, into our home.  Then again you can really only be SO ready, right:).  Labor and delivery can go any number of ways and the temperament of our newest addition remains to be seen.  Regardless, I know that everything is in God's hands and that is a great feeling and yes, of course I am excited! 

How am I feeling?  Well, in many ways I am feeling so much better than I was during my first pregnancy.  This pregnancy has definitely been a more positive experience overall.  The biggest blessing was only having nausea for a few weeks this pregnancy, compared to the 6+ months with Daisy.  

 On the other hand, I sleep only about 2-3 hours a night on average and yes I feel exhausted all the time so I feel quite ready for a newborn actually.  I have carpel tunnel in my fingers and wrists due to fluid retention.  I have pregnancy related anemia and pica.  Pica for me involves an obsessive desire to smell bleach.  I may or may not have ran a few empty loads of laundry with copious amounts of bleach just to fill the entire house with the aroma for a few hours....don't judge me, it's the hormones, I swear. hehe.  I also crunch ice...every minute of every day.  I can only imagine how annoying I must be to my husband and friends.  I hope that these odd behaviors will dissipate after pregnancy.  hehehe.   I get winded super easily and getting up and down or out of bed has become quite a spectacle of grunts and groans.  I pee, nine kajillion times a day and I especially love when intense contractions hit me while standing at a check out line because the hot flashes and need to pee become so intense that I never know what might happen.  So, so fun!  Last week as I was walking alone through Target, my son decided to karate chop my bladder....and I literally dropped to my knees in the aisle without even realizing it.  That wasn't embarrassing at all... #pregnantgirlproblems

But, you don't have to tell me.  I know, I know.  It's all SO worth it.  I could not agree more. 

Also, before our little man arrives and I forget, I wanted to share the lovely maternity pictures that my friend (and awesome photographer), Emily Camp, took for our family a few weeks back.  Thank you again Emily! 

 I am excited and yet nervous...calm and yet mind is also racing.  I am a mixture of emotions for sure but, mostly I feel alright and I am truly savoring these last few days or hours before our new baby arrives.  We have been getting so much done over the past month and we have been trying to soak up our time as a family of three as much as possible before we add our precious son to the family mix.  It will definitely be a festive December for our family to say the least.  I feel so blessed! 

Now on to some deeper, honest blog ramblings:) specialty. hehe.

I never imagined that my kiddos would be spaced so far apart.  I saw my life going very differently than it has in so many ways but, I am so grateful for it all...the wonderful and the not so wonderful because it is what has brought me here.  Though here may not be what I planned or hoped for at one time in my life, it is where I am now and I trust that God knows better than I.  I feel so much peace and contentment in that surrender.   

 I can attest to the fact that life does not always pan out the way we think it fact I would be so bold as to say that it probably never pans out quite like we expect. Life is an adventure full of unknowns, bumps and curves and also wonderful surprises.  I am so thankful that I have the Lord as my guide, my hope, my strength and my comfort through it all. 

 I know I say it often on this blog but, I have absolutely cherished the last 4.5 years that I have had with just one kiddo.  Daisy and I have a very special bond indeed and I praise God for giving us this special time together.  God is good, all the time and He has been so faithful to our family. 

I have heard many a pregnant woman share her fears and concerns and when I wasn't pregnant I often thought that some of those worries seemed silly or irrational but, there is nothing like personal experience to shift our perspective and our understanding.  There is nothing like personal experience to give us more compassion and empathy for others.  To all the pregnant women before me who have had any of these fears or worries at one point or another, you are not alone.  Now I understand:) 

  Some of the irrational and yet totally rational things (considering my pregnant state) that skate through my brain from time to time:  I wonder how I could love another child as much as I have loved my first for nearly five years.  I wonder if my bond with my son will be as instant as it was with my daughter.  I wonder what he will be like and who he will favor.  I wonder if Daisy will be jealous or if she will adjust smoothly.  I wonder how I will juggle a second child when we have such a smooth routine with just one:). lol  I hope that my son and daughter will have a strong bond.  I hope that my son is healthy and that all is well with his tiny little body because I will feel anxious until I know for sure.  

These thoughts are a totally natural response to something unknown and to a large impending life change. 

I know all to well how to rationalize all of these fears with truth and faith but, the reality is that mental turbulence is just part of life from time to time for a momma to be and a month from now, the majority of these questions and concerns will be nothing but, a distant memory.  I know it's all good.  I know God is good. :)

 I have packed bags for both me and the new baby, as well as a suitcase for Daisy, who will be spending the night at her friend's house when we go in to labor.  Thank you SO much Christine!! 

 This will be her very first sleepover and she is over the moon excited!  In fact, bless her little heart, I know that all the excitement over here over the past few months has been more than her little four year old brain can process.  Between waiting for her baby brother to arrive, her first sleepover at her friend's house, family flying in from out of state, Christmas and all of the holiday festivities....she is quite the barrel of emotions.  Totally understandable.  

One thing is for certain, Daisy has the sweetest heart towards a brother that she hasn't even met yet.  She is gentle with my giant belly and hugs it several times a day.  She talks to her brother every night before bed and she talks about him with anyone who will listen.  I know that she will be an awesome big sister.  I am so thankful for her big loving heart.  

Anyways, if our little guy decides not to come out on his own this week, my doctor will be inducing me on Friday.  Please keep us in your prayers if you think of us.  Of course I am hoping for my delivery to go as smoothly as possible and without any complications but, mostly I am praying for a healthy baby boy.  

We have had a tremendous amount of people ask to visit us at the hospital.  Thank you so much! I truly feel deeply loved by all of your support and excitement for our family!  But, I am asking that visitors please hold off until we are home and settled as we are going to have quite the revolving door already between family and pre-arranged guests and I am trying to ensure that there will be some time to rest when my baby rests.  There was not a moment of down time after I delivered Daisy and I am trying to increase my chances for a calmer experience this time around.  I truly mean no disrespect to anyone and we will gladly welcome visitors once we are home and more comfortable.  Thank you friends.  We love you all so much! 

I love dancing and being silly with my sweet little family!  Can't wait for baby boy to get here so he can dance along with us.  The count down is on.... 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Forever My Princess - Halloween 2014

This past Halloween my kiddo asked to be a princess...again.  We've been dressing up as a princess since she was a 16 months old and her princess love just keeps growing.  We've had a Cinderella party, an Elsa-Frozen party and she's dressed up as Snow White, Belle and now this year she asked to be Aurora.

She really was the sweetest Aurora I'd ever seen.  (I only say that because she is my daughter of course...I hope you understand:). lol

Pink is her favorite color after all so this costume was a big hit...well, technically, pink, purple, Elsa-Blue (as she insists on calling it), green and gold...are her favorite colors lately but, pink is always her first pick. 

She had her outfit hanging carefully in her closet for a month.  She picked out a crown and pumpkin bucket to match and she set aside her pink shoes and patiently waited to wear the ensemble until Halloween because she wanted to keep her costume nice.  Such a girly girl...such a little princess...such a tender-hearted princess who I absolutely adore.  I have so much to thank God for every day simply because He blessed me with her.    

For the briefest of moments I wanted to talk Daisy out of dressing up as a princess again.   I was hoping I could convince her to be Super Girl, or a robot or something else random and well, different.  For the briefest of moments I was forgetting just how quickly my little girl will outgrow these sweet little princess dresses and that soon enough we will be dressing up as other things and I will miss these days terribly.  Then it dawned on me that Daisy may very well be the only daughter that I ever have!  After that simple and yet mind-blowing revelation, I zipped my trap and celebrated my daughter's Aurora decision whole-heartedly.  Princess it is kiddo! 

I mean c'mon, could she be any happier? 

In effort to maintain a little tradition (which I so enjoy), I made our delicious burritos and homemade salsa for anyone who wanted to join us and Great Grandma and Great Granddad drove over to help us pass out candy and celebrate.  Daisy loves her Great Grandparents to pieces and she gets so excited when they come over to celebrate with her.  She was incredibly giddy all day long to say the least.  

As usual we were scrambling a bit frantically at the last minute to get out the door to trick or treat with our neighbors.  Daddy still wasn't home from work and I still hadn't taken pictures of my princess!  We were also excited because cousin Avery was coming over to treat with us for a little bit.  Her first Halloween!  So special:).  

 I am not fond of the last minute chaos that so often accompanies holiday events but, we got through it as we always do and Daisy didn't even seem to notice.  Mission accomplished.  

This picture melts my Mommy heart.  My 4 1/2 year old is still so little but, at the same time she is getting so big so fast.   Someday, I am going to cry buckets when this little girl walks down the aisle to marry the love of her life, her prince and looks back at me with this sweet face.  Sigh.  Slow down time.

Every princess needs to twirl at least once! 

This girl has more facial expressions than I can count:).  I love them all. 

Her candy bucket was quite full by the end of the evening.  Mommy and Daddy took turns holding the bucket between houses because it was hurting her hands and it was also quite chilly out and her little fingers were freezing.  She never complained and her smile couldn't be contained.  She was one happy princess. 

A girl can never wear too much pink right? :)

I love the mysterious feel of this black and white capture.  Daisy had just heard a loud noise outside and I happened to capture her curious expression in just the right moment.  This shot has a Wizard of Oz feel...or something like that to me:).  Plus it's another shot that made me pause and look at the face of my daughter and say to myself, "when did you get so old my sweet girl??"  

The truth is that Daisy is in fact a princess because her Father in Heaven is a King!  I hope that she grows up and holds tightly to this truth.  She is His!  She does not ever need to fear because God is within her and He goes before her!  His love for her is unmatchable.  

Daisy my sweet princess, I love you so much!  Thank you for all of the fun princess adventures that you have taken me on.  I wasn't much of a princess girl myself when I was little and it has been an absolute joy to celebrate with pink, sparkles, dresses and crowns these past four years.  xoxo

Monday, November 3, 2014

I love the Way Kids Change Us (for the better)

This picture below of my happy girl and her Daddy is probably my new favorite picture of the two of them, ever.  I snapped this one a few weeks ago while we were waiting to do some family pictures with my good friend Emily who is also a photographer.  Daisy is currently 4.5 years old and she seems to be turning into a little more of a Daddy's girl with each passing day.  I'm also quite certain that our little girl has her Daddy wrapped around her finger.  There is just something about a Daddy and his little girl.  

 I just love the way these two are looking at each other in this picture and Daisy is so happy she can't contain her dancing feet.  I can imagine this picture being played on her wedding slide show some day or perhaps in her  Senior yearbook and I know all to well how quickly those days will be upon us.  

People remind me all the time, but they don't need to; I am all to aware of how fast the time with our children goes.  These years with little ones are exhausting (to put it lightly) and the hours are extremely long but, the joy and rewards simply cannot be measured.  Just the other day, I was reflecting on how much my daughter has changed me.  So many things that I said I'd never do, or rather thought I'd never do, I do happily because of her.  For example: I never wanted to have a fridge covered in children's artwork.  Don't judge:).  It's just that I like tidy spaces and I imagined an art wall or a space reserved for that.  Now our fridge is of course covered in all of Daisy's Sunday school and preschool pictures and I wouldn't want it any other way.  In fact, I am the one who joyfully plasters my fridge with a hodge podge of magnets and artwork.  I smile every time I open and close those doors.  The clutter doesn't bother me, it blesses me.  

(Below: almost 32 weeks with our son.  I am currently almost 36 weeks so woohoo...getting close!)

I never wanted my kiddo to wear character clothing or shoes.  Again...don't judge me lol...I'm just not a fan but, I have of course caved and allowed both.  My daughter loves Princesses and the way she lights up whenever she wears a shirt, dress or pair of sandals with her favorite characters on them, puts everything into perspective for me.  It is such a blessing to me to bless my daughter's heart!  As a grown up and before having children of my own, I was in many ways, out of touch with the heart of a child until I had one of my own.   When I became a Mommy, I soon realized that what brings my daughter joy is far more valuable to me than my need for a tidy fridge, a Pinterest perfect play room, (or house for that matter), an instagram famous fashion child etc.  Those things are nice too of course!  

I love how God uses our kids to help us re-evaluate what really matters and what so often does not.  Sometimes the change in our hearts is slow and we might even resist it for some time but, other times, it's instant.  Either way, I am in awe of how my daughter has changed my life, my perspective and my heart.  

I never wanted to drive a mini van.  Oh, I am all to aware of the practicality and usefulness of a minivan but, I simply didn't/don't care for them.  I drive a small SUV and I'm quite happy with it but, we will soon welcome a second kiddo and our small car will be quite full.  The reality of another kiddo on the way spurred on a minivan window shopping trip a few weeks ago and would you believe I quite enjoyed myself.  I'm still not thrilled about driving a minivan but, it is looking like we may get one in the near future because honestly, who can pass up two sliding side doors, a DVD player with wireless headsets, a cooler in the front row, three rows of easy in and out seating, reclining seats in every row, gas efficiency and well, there really are so many cool features in minivans now that I can't even list them all.  I think the only thing that minivans are lacking is a privacy window between the parent's row and all the rows behind...or at least a silencing window....then they would totally be the perfect family vehicle:). 

When it comes to kids if you know of anything that can simplify your life and lessen the stress of each day (and that is legal of course)....just go for it!  

I now listen to only kid friendly music in the car and watch only kid friendly programs on TV when my daughter is awake.  Not because I love these things all the time but, because she loves them and I want to protect her from things that she doesn't need to be hearing or seeing just yet.  Yes, it's a sacrifice but, it's worth it.

I hardly ever dress fancy because if my outfit doesn't allow me to race after a fleeing child or bend over to scoop up a crying baby, then it isn't the right outfit for me.  I eat Mac N' Cheese, hot dogs and applesauce far more than I'd like to admit and 99% of the time when I am shopping for myself I end up buying something for my daughter instead.  She is far more fun to shop for even if my underwear do have holes in them...I'm slightly exaggerating so don't get grossed out but, you get my drift right:).

I'm an introvert and I don't like to draw attention to myself generally speaking but, I will dance like a dork in public on que when my daughter asks me to.  I talk to my daughter's imaginary people so often in public that I'm sure people think I'm crazy when they walk by.

I used to flee a store whenever my kiddo would melt down because I was embarrassed by her scene and by the stares/glares of the grumpy, judgemental grown ups around me.  I know how many adults are critical of crying kids in public (puh-lease tell me some of you are not like that??)  But guess what, now I will even let my kiddo work through a mild public meltdown even if it is irritating to every other adult around me...for the sake of teaching my kiddo a lesson and because let's face it...I would never be able to leave the house if I had to run away every time my kid had a tantrum or fit.

Now when people stare at me and my kiddo with a raised eye brow I simple give them a smile...but in my head I am saying, "hello out of touch stranger, I am a Mom and this is life.  My confidence is growing a little more every day and your glares no longer scare me.  So judge away my friend.  I do so hope you are enjoying this show!" 

Yes, it's true.  Even my confidence has grown since having a kiddo.  It's quite refreshing actually:). 

I used to be quite the germaphobe...not as bad as some mind you but, still it was a real thing.  When Daisy was about nine months old we had a layover at an airport and she was wide awake and needing to burn energy before our second long flight.  The only option I felt that I had was to let her crawl around on the nastiest floor I've ever put her on.  I was desperate so I just let it go (like Elsa).  Her brand new jammies literally turned black within  No exaggeration.  Her hands were nasty and I realized right then and there that I had changed without even wanting to.  When it was time to board the plane I hurried to the bathroom and gave her a mini bath in the nasty airport sink and that was that.  After that experience, I picked up pacifiers and blew them off (instead of washing them) and handed them back to my kiddo.  I let her touch just about anything and everything short of a toilet and I will admit I do feel freer.  lol  Sometimes the change in us is forced and sometimes it just happens. 

I used to observe parents who would laugh at some of their kids transgressions instead of being super firm disciplinarians like I thought they should be.  I used to think, that kid needs a spanking!  Then I became a parent and I hardly ever spank..(though I am not against it for the record) and I find myself laughing at things that are totally not okay.  When she got into my mascara, when she cut my hair, when she dropped things in the toilet, when she threw everything off her bed and on to the floor because she didn't want to sleep but, then fell asleep in the heap on the floor....seriously, kids are funny!  Don't get me wrong, I do believe in consequences when a situation calls for them but, I also have discovered that each situation and each child is different and sometimes things are just funny.  I have discovered that for me at least, laughter is the spice of life when it comes to parenting.

Just this week in fact, as I was sitting on the floor in my dining room creating a Thankful tree with scrap book paper on the wall for our November activity, my kiddo who was behind me, without thinking it through, grabbed the scissors off the table and snipped a chunk of my hair off before I even realized what was happening.  The second I heard the snip and felt her hand grip my hair I whirled around and with a horrified look on my face said, "what did you just do??" She also had a horrified look on her face, her eyes were as wide as saucers and I could tell that she was just as shocked as I was.  I think she was also wondering, "what DID I just do??" My heart was racing at this point so I asked her to go sit on her bed and told her I would come in and talk with her in a minute when I calmed down.  She was hysterical.  IF you really know my daughter, you know that she is not a trouble maker and is not one to cut a chunk of hair off of her own head or anyone else's for that matter.  This was a rather odd situation for my daughter, which was why I was trying my best to handle the process with care.  After she ran to her room sobbing with remorse, I began grabbing frantically at my hair to find the chunk and see just how much hair I lost in today's parenting adventure.  The chunk fell into my hand and it wasn't tiny but, it wasn't as big as I expected so I heaved a sigh of relief.  I can live with that I thought to myself.  My hair is a choppy, layered mess anyways so this new chunk will blend right in.  Hair grows back, thank God.   Then I just started laughing as I looked at this chunk of hair in my hand because I know my daughter's heart and I know that she didn't think this little activity through at all.  It was an impulsive mistake...something to learn from but, not the end of the world.  She often "cuts" my hair with her fake doctor scissors and she has a lot of fun with it this was no different to her.  Now if my kiddo was a trouble maker I wouldn't have thought this was funny at all.  Like I said earlier, each kiddo and situation is different.  

I went in to my daughters room and scooped her into my lap.  She was a mess.  I asked her, "hey kiddo, mommy is just wondering what you were thinking inside your head when you grabbed those scissors and cut some of mommy's hair?"  Through her sobs she said, "I...don't...know...(sob, sob), I think maybe to pretend hair salon with you...I'm, (sob, sob)"   

I asked her if she knew that the scissors were real and that they would actually cut a chunk of mommy's hair off.  She said she didn't and because I know my daughter's heart, I believed her.  I explained to her that we cannot use real scissors to cut anyone's hair unless they say we can.  I explained to her that her doctor scissors are not real and that they are very different from real scissors.  She was so upset with herself and couldn't stop crying.  I told her I forgive her and that my hair will grow back, not to worry.  Then I got her distracted with a show on PBS to get her to calm down.  I on the other hand, giggled about the situation off and on for the rest of the day!

Trust me, never in a million years, would I have dreamed that I would find it humorous when my child would cut a chunk of my hair off.   Kids have a funny way of changing us and the changes may even be surprising to us.  

Now if I am being truly honest....I have of course focussed on only the positive ways that kids change us in this blog post.  The gray hair, wrinkles, cellulite, spider veins, stretch marks, fried brain, memory loss etc. are a few of the not so wonderful side effects of having  I promise I will write a blog post about those things another time.  I do however believe that at the end of our journey that the positives far out weight the negatives.  That in spite of all the endless challenges and hardships, we love our children to pieces and wouldn't trade them for the world (most days). :) Wouldn't you agree? 

How have your kids changed you?  Do you do, watch or say things you never thought you would? 

Wouldn't you agree that there is so much to laugh about in this parenting adventure!  

(Finally a sweet preggo pic with my bestie and fellow photographer friend Emily.  We both have a four year old together and now we will have a kiddo just a mere 2 or 3 weeks apart.  I'm very grateful to have a couple of great friends to go through this journey with!)

Stay tuned for another blog post with a few lovely pictures that my friend Emily snapped of our family.  She is a talented photographer and I am so grateful that she captured a few family maternity shots for us before we welcome our son in just a little over a month! :).

And can I just say that at almost 36 weeks pregnant...I'm so ready and so done.  
Monday, October 20, 2014

Tough Parenting Days Remind Me How Awesome God Is

Top on my endless to do list has been find a cheap pair of slip-on shoes.  Unfortunately, my feet have gone up an entire shoe size this pregnancy.  Awesome.  My feet never swelled or stretched during my first pregnancy but, I have heard that this is a common issue so I guess it is my turn to experience this little delight.  I've been squeezing and pinching my swollen piggies into my shoes for the past several weeks but, this pregnant lady just can't take it anymore.

So, after picking up my kiddo from preschool last week, we headed off to Target.  Daisy quickly made up her mind that we were going to Target to buy new outfits for her dolls.  I informed her gently that we in fact were not going to be buying clothes for her dolls but, suggested that she ask for those things for Christmas.  She wasn't satisfied with my suggestion but, I thought she had  moved on.  Evidently she hadn't, because after being in the store for only five minutes (three of which were spent racing to the bathroom for her),  she proceeded to sit on the ground and refuse to move despite my gentle nudge and then firmer reprimand.  She wanted to go look at the toys and she was bored of being an obedient daughter.  Classic four year old behavior. 

Now, I am eight months pregnant and I can barely bend over to pull up my pants, shave my legs, (forget painting my toenails) or put a shoe on, let alone drag a tantruming four year old off the floor of Target.  On the other hand, I just finished reading the excellent, "Loving Our Kids On Purpose," parenting book and I am now trying ever so patiently to incorporate the Godly tools that I've gleaned into my discipline and parenting.  I bent over my gigantic belly (uggggg so not fun) and got down at eye level with my snot-nosed, tear-streaked kiddo.  

"Daisy, I am going to let you make a choice.  You can stop crying now and shake this off.  Get up and help mommy finish her errands and then we will go look at the toys for a while...or you can keep crying, get up and help mommy finish her errands but, after we will not go look at the toys when I am finished.  You get to choose kiddo.  So what will it be.  Shake it off and help mommy or not?"  

And as four year olds so often do...she chose not.  

It hurt my heart because, I knew that the consequence of not going to look at toys after was going to be painful for both of us.  I knew she would regret her choice in ten minutes once she got over this tantrum. I knew she would try desperately to get me to change my mind.  I knew the battle was far from over.  Sigh.  

She continued to cry (not too loudly thank God) and walked a good ten feet behind me all the way to the shoe department.  I knew that I needed to shop fast because I was starting to have hot flashes and feel dizzy...another glorious side effect of being eight months preggo.  I also knew that Daisy's behavior could easily go even further downhill but, dangit I needed at least one pair of shoes that fit my fat feet.  I tried to tune out my daughter as she continued to whine and make a scene and I also tuned out the people who were staring.  I was a pregnant lady on a mission!  I spotted the clearance wrack and to my delight I saw that there were slip on shoes marked way down.  Hallelujah!! I didn't even care that the shoes weren't at all feet were SO happy and I got to check another thing off my overwhelmingly long list.  

Daisy was still crying...truthfully, I wanted to sit down and cry with her.  I think she is tired today.  I'm tired too.  I think she needed a hug.  I needed one too.  I think being four must be really tough.  Being 8 months preggo with a four year old is really tough too.  See, I can empathize with her even when she is being a little stinker.  

I picked my daughter up (I still pick her up but, boy it is not an easy task anymore), walked over to a bench and set her down,  I wiped her snotty nose and tears away and again bent way down so that I could talk to her at eye level.  "Daisy, it hurts mommy's heart when you choose to be unkind.  Mommy's feet hurt and I need a new pair of shoes.  I needed your help but, you chose to not help Mommy.  Now we will not be able to look at toys and I know that your choice is making you sad.  I'm sorry honey.  I love you very much.  Maybe next time you will make a different choice?" I gave her a hug and then I told her we needed to go.  

She tried to convince me one more time that she deserved to look at the toys and she told me that I was mean...(that always feels great) when I remained firm.  

She stayed mad/sad at me and continued to walk a great deal behind me and pout but, somehow we both managed to get to the car alive.  

After all that excitement, this weary, preggo momma needed a milkshake from Chick-fil-A and lucky for me it is right next to Target.  Yeah.  I ordered a chocolate shake and was looking forward to sharing it with Daisy.  Of course when she learned that she would have to share with me she was not happy.  She wanted her own.  I understand.  Life is so unfair.  Sigh.  

Another chance to practice.  "Daisy, mommy loves sharing with you.  I am getting one shake and we can either share it or you can let mommy have all of it.  Your choice but, I hope you will choose to share with Mommy because that would be fun." 

Well, she chose to share.  Thank you Jesus!  One less battle to have on our twenty minute drive home. 

The shake was delicious and we were able to drive in peace...well, for the most part.  Four year olds thrive on arguments...perhaps this is true of children of all ages?  Daisy informed me that our shake was "banilla."  I said, "hmmm, interesting kiddo because it is actually chocolate.  Chocolate ice cream is brown.  Vanilla is white."  She looked into the cup and said, "it's brown banilla mom you are wrong." 

Now, I know that this is a super minor issue but, I think that just about all mom's of four year olds can attest to the fact that minor or not...after months of endless arguments over the silliest things, we all want to rip our hair out.  Our patience and sanity is beat up day after day and the constant arguments begin triggering panic attacks, heart palpitations and irrational thoughts of fleeing the country.  I'm slightly exaggerating of course (or am I) but, at the very least, the mental battles with our kids definitely make us I right?   

Borrowing a line from my good friend Annie I said, "Well, whatever floats your boat darling.  I love you too much to argue.  Let's just enjoy the ice cream."  After that, She got the last word in of course.  I chuckled to myself, ignored it and then we went back to enjoying our ice cream.  She was much happier after the sugar kicked in and so was I:).

The rest of our drive home, I couldn't help but meditate on my awesome Father in Heaven.  I reflected on how perfectly He parents me and all of His kids for that matter.  We often treat God like four year olds treat their parents.  We demand things.  We complain.  We suffer from nearsightedness and so often forget the awesome things that God has already done in our lives.  We often blame Him for every bad day, bump, scratch or issue in our lives.  We yell at him.  We let go of his ever patient, ever loving hand and have a tantrum when things don't go just how we want. We ignore Him and spend so little time with Him and yet wonder why He seems so distant when we need Him again.  We like to argue with Him and we think we know SO much more than He does when it comes to deciding what is best in our lives. 

Through it all, our Heavenly Father is abundantly kind, gentle, forgiving, patient, merciful, faithful and perfectly loving with us.  His love for us never grows weary.  It never runs out.  He never tires of our incessant chatter or our company.  His love is unfathomably deep and wide and covers a multitude of our sins against Him.  He patiently guides us to the truth and toward righteousness one day at a time...all the days of our lives.  

I can only imagine how much it hurts God's heart when we make bad choices, run away from Him and tell Him that He is "mean."  He takes no pleasure in our suffering or anguish.   

After reflecting for a little while, I couldn't help but say, "Thank you Jesus for loving me so well!" I certainly don't do anything to deserve that kind of love but, that love is there for the taking all the same. I am God's daughter!! What a tremendous gift to be a part of such a loving family!  I know that I can go to my Father on my ugliest day or hour and he will never reject me.  He will never yell at me.  Instead, even at my worst, He lifts up my face and shines on me and pours His love into my brokenness.  His love has transformed my life and my heart and continues to challenge me every day to be more like Him.     

As a parent, with a child of my own, I am able to get a little clearer taste of that kind of holy, perfect love that our Father in Heaven has for all of his children.  I would sacrifice for my daughter.  I would lay down my life for her.  I would do anything I could for her if she was in need.  I have wrinkles, stretch marks, a scrambled brain and gray hair because of my love for my daughter.  It is all worth it! 

On the other hand, I am human and my love is flawed and far from perfect.  I am not always patient.  I am not always slow to anger.  I am not always understanding.  I am unable to give my child my undivided attention at all times.  I have and will continue to make mistakes.  I might be selfish at times.  I will have bad days and might not even be all that fun to be around at times.  As much as I love and adore my daughter, I will still fail her at times. 

Tough parenting days are SO not fun but, they can remind us of how we often behave toward God and more importantly they can help us to reflect on how in perfect love, God responds to us even when we don't deserve His goodness.  God is awesome.    

God's love never, ever fails us.  He is a perfect example.  He is a perfect parent.  I want to be more like Him! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Getting Ready for Baby #2

Less than three months from now, we will be welcoming out little guy into our arms and I will be gladly ejecting him from my stomach:). This pregnancy has moved along so much faster than my first and I am incredibly grateful for that.   This time around, I am so much busier with Daisy and our schedule that I simply don't have the down time to plan or think as much about things as I did when I was pregnant with Daisy...which is nice.  Also, in comparison to my first pregnancy, I feel so much more relaxed and not at all anxious this time around. 

We have gotten a few things accomplished in the past month! I am happy to report that my hubs put up crown molding, painted our little guy's room not once but, twice and set our crib up. Yay! Why did he paint the room twice you ask?  Well...after much thought on my part, the room was initially painted a light beige.   My reason for choosing that color was that I thought a neutral color would be easy to work with and that it would be a color that our son could grow with.   I figured that I could really do any theme I wanted with a neutral color.   Even as the beige was being painted on the wall I knew it was not going to jive with me.  All my brain could say when I saw it was, "yuck."  I spent a few days walking in and out of the room in hopes that I might get used to the color or change my mind but, it continued to remind me of a sterile hospital.  I decided that all the room was missing was padded walls.  Truth.  I felt awful telling my husband that I hated the color after he had spent an afternoon painting it but, I knew that I couldn't live with it.  For the record, color can either have a really positive impact on me or a horrible impact on me in my home.  I guess I am one of those people whose moods are affected by tone and color more than I realized!  So, now you know one of my many oddities...don't judge me.  I know you have some too:). lol

My hubs was an absolute trooper and even though I said that I would do the painting this time around he wouldn't let me (yay me!).  I chose to go a different direction and picked a soft blue that we both already knew we love because we have used it before.  We bought two gallons of it from Home Depot and my hubby got about 75% of the way through painting the room for the second time when I walked into the room and immediately noticed that the color was not at all like the color swatch we took in to Lowes.  I nervously mentioned it to my husband and he suggested that maybe it was just the lighting because it was dark in the room with only one small light.  I wanted to believe that but, in my gut I knew something was again off.  We chose a soft baby blue and this color was a darker blue, green.  Sure enough, when the room was finished and after my husband had strained his eyes again and again to try and see the color as a soft blue, he also concluded that it was in fact no where near the color we purchased.  Turns out we were accidentally given a gallon of paint that a customer behind us had ordered and they must have gotten ours.  We didn't bother to confirm the name of the paint before painting because when we opened the lid the color looked blueish and it's really hard to tell a color until it dries.  It was a store error and a really unfortunate one considering our circumstances... after painting the room twice my hubby was ready to fall apart...I couldn't blame him.   Being the guy that he is, after he calmed down, he offered to paint it again if I wasn't happy with the new unique color  that we now had on the walls that didn't match the bedding that I had already purchased.  hehe.  I did in fact like the color well enough to leave it alone and so the color remains as does my husband's sanity..barely:)  Anyways, all that to say that some day when you see pictures of our son's nursery, please don't tell me that the bedding doesn't match or that the color isn't your favorite.  Could you do us a favor and just lie and tell us how much you love it?  Thanks, we would both really appreciate it. LOL

I pinned boy nursery pictures on Pinterest for several months and I like a lot of different styles but, a boy nursery was definitely not coming as easily to me as a little girl's room.  Plus, I simply cannot bear the thought of spending an arm and a leg to decorate another nursery again...a room that our little guy will likely out grow in a year or two at most.  I want to keep things simple this time around, budget friendly and yet hopefully somewhat cute still.... so, wish me luck because this process has not been an easy challenge!  I love vintage themed nurseries that people so often create now for boys.  I love the modern prints, grays, yellows, arrows, foxes and simple decor but, when I was in wal-mart and saw a cheerful, elephant bumper for only $12 on clearance I said to myself, "Screw it, elephants it is."    So, that my friends, is how it all started.  hahaha.

I'm hoping to get a rocking/glider chair of some sort, a dresser and a few simple decorations and I hope to tackle all that between now and October.  We shall see about that:).  I will of course share pictures when it is finished so stay tuned.

In other news, I am happy to report that since the day that we found out we are having a boy, Daisy has completely warmed up to the idea and she hasn't complained about having a "brudder," again.

The day of the ultrasound was tough.  I knew that Daisy was really hoping for a sister and I think that deep down a part of me was kind of hoping we were having another girl too...for various reasons.  On the other hand, this pregnancy was nothing like my first so I also knew in my gut that this kiddo was probably a boy because things were just too different.  When the technician showed us that we were in fact having a boy I think we were all in shock, but Daisy most of all.  She started crying almost immediately and kept saying quietly over and over, "a brudder?  I don't want a brudder.  I want a sister.  No, no, no."  It was one part funny to witness her reaction but, another part sad and emotional for me because I was also processing the news and her tears kinda swallowed up the tiny bit of excitement that I was trying to feel...though for the record I wasn't at all surprised by her tears, nor was I upset by her reaction.  I could relate:). 

After the ultrasound I took Daisy to a consignment shop and let her pick out a toy and an outfit for her baby brother to help ease her in to the news.  She found two cute baby princess dolls and that immediately cheered her up.  She talked to my belly and said, "I'm sorry for what I said baby brudder.  I won't say that again.  I wuv you," while kissing my belly in the store.  That melted me.  To make sure to seal her change of heart I took her to one of her favorite places, Chick-Fil-A and we had a nice date lunch and ice cream together.  She was doing much better after all that and so was I.  I also picked out a few little boy things at the consignment shop (shown in the picture above).  It felt strange to be buying boy clothes and my brain was completely incapable of processing the news that I was going to have a son.  It was a weird feeling and I know that some of you can relate to that feeling of shock.   The good news of course is that the feeling of shock wears off over time.  

Now, nearly 30 weeks along in this pregnancy (holy cow the time has flown by!), I still can't comprehend what it will be like to be a mother to a son...simply because this is a first time experience but, I feel so much peace and gratitude for this little boy.  I spend lots of little moments praying for my sweet son with my hand on my giant belly.  He often kicks when I pray just to let me know that he is listening and thriving inside his cozy nest.  I pray for his health and for his future.  I pray that he would be brave and courageous and love Jesus with all his heart.  I pray that God would teach me and my husband to guide him and instruct him with patience and love.  I pray that he would be an awesome brother to his sister, Daisy.  I pray that they would have a special bond.  Every time that I pray for my son, my concerns and fears wash away.  My heart is filled with peace and I know that God has great things in store, not only for our son, but for our family when he joins us.  

Thank you Jesus for the son that you have entrusted to us! 

A generous friend of mine offered to throw a baby shower for us in November.  Thank you so much Annie! I wasn't planning on accepting a shower offer but, when I thought about it, I realized that after five years, a lot of little things are needing to be replaced, borrowed things have been returned and I would rather this little boy not have to wear pink and purple every day:) I did in fact accept.  I am grateful for this little celebration for our son and I am so thankful to all the friends who have celebrated this new life with our family in some way or another.  

To answer a few questions that I am asked almost daily...

What is his name going to be?  

A secret:).  Sorry all.  We kept Daisy's name a secret and though it wasn't easy for us, it was a fun surprise to announce on the day of her birth and it prevented us from being subjected to disapproving comments about her name while I was pregnant.  This little guy's name is somewhat unique but, not at all strange in my opinion.  You only have to way 2.5 more months! Hang tight:)

How is this pregnancy going lately?

It's going okay in many ways.  I haven't had any braxton hicks contractions yet which has surprised me.  I had so many with Daisy!  My back doesn't hurt as bad this time around which is a tremendous blessing.  It does get sore at night and when I am sleeping but, it is nothing like the first time around.  I had hardly zero nausea with this little guy.  I think maybe six weeks tops.  I don't have any food aversions anymore and I can even drink coffee again.  I will say that my fatigue is worse this time around and I am sure it is partially due to the fact that I have a very lively 4 year old who does not nap...wearing me out all day long but, it is also because I only sleep about 4 hours a night on average.  I try to take a nap a couple of times during the week to keep my brain functioning and that helps.  On the other hand, as I have told several people...the fatigue and exhaustion in pregnancy always helps me to transition more smoothly into the exhaustion phase with a newborn and I a grateful for that...seriously, so grateful.  I am quite uncomfortable already.  My stomach feels much tighter this time around and I think that is because I am carrying differently.  I can no longer reach my toes or easily pull on pants.  I get winded easily on our nightly walks and find myself leaning on trees and stop signs to catch my breath. HAHA.  My maternity clothes are even becoming too tight and I get rather bummed that I have to wear the same three shirts over and over and over again...I just keep telling myself, "just keep chugging, just keep chugging." :)  So, now you now how things are going! hehe

I hope you are all having a blessed week!  I've been filling my spirit with some awesome Jake Hamilton worship tunes this week.  His music is so anointed and powerful.  Good stuff.  Take a listen. I pray that whatever your circumstances are today, that you feel the powerful love of Jesus, meeting you exactly where you are at.  I pray that He tugs on your heart and speaks His powerful truth into your life.  You are chosen, redeemed, forgiven, dearly loved and a conquerer in Him.  How great is our God!   

I remember listening to this song (below) in one of the darkest and loneliest seasons of my life.  With tears streaming down my face while driving around town, God used these words to fill me with hope, to hold my broken heart and love on my weary soul.  Whatever you are facing or might face in the future....In Him, hold on, it's all gonna be okay.  

Friday, September 5, 2014

First Week Of Preschool 4's

My sweet girl started 4's preschool this past Tuesday, September 2, 2014.  Last year she only attended school three days a week but, this year she is going five days a week and an hour longer.  She also eats lunch at school now.  The purpose of the schedule is to help the 4 year olds to prepare for kindergarten which will be an even longer day.  I could easily have done three days again this year because I am not needing that much time away from my love bug but, on the other hand being six months preggo and counting...I am wiped out and this morning break is a huge blessing for my weary mind and body.  This year Daisy has a lot of friends in her class.  Some new friends and some old and that made this year an easy transition.  She enjoys her teachers and each day after class she usually tells me one favorite thing about that day.  I've heard that she cooked one day, read a book to her friend, went potty 3 times (lol), showed all her friends and teachers her nail polish and her teachers complimented them etc.  I love the little tid bits that she gives me but, I have learned that I can't pry too much because Daisy needs to decompress after school for a while.  

Daisy loves being home with me.  I think she would be content to stay inside and do crafts, workbooks, cook, help me clean and do imagination play etc. with me all day long.  She is a Mommy's girl for sure and she is a home body...just like me.  lol  That being said I expected that she would be a little anxious on her first day of school and during the first week but, I also know that Daisy is very brave and resilient and I knew she would have fun once she got into her class with her friends. 
(looking a little serious in this pic...that is her nervousness coming through a little bit:).  Still I appreciate that she lets me take these pictures of her and is such a good sport. 

I could tell she was excited and nervous on her first day because she was happy and agreeable but, she was much quieter than usual.  She is a thinker and I could see that her little wheels were turning.  I prayed for her while I was making her lunch and getting her ready and that helped to give both of us some peace of mind.  She gave me lots of kisses and then walked bravely into her new class.  I'm so proud of my kiddo.  (side note: this pic was the day before school started.  My kiddo sometimes like to get dressed all pretty and I just loved the sweet smile she gave me when I asked if I could take a picture of her cute outfit:).  

There was a funny misunderstanding on day one.  Daisy is now doing a carpool pick up after school each day.  She is not familiar with that term and for whatever reason she thought her teacher was telling her that she and the other kids were going to a new pool after school.  Seriously cute...LOL.  So when I finally got to the front of the carpool line and picked her up she was so excited about the new swimming pool we were heading to.  I was confused of course but, quickly figured out where the confusion came from.  I did my best to explain a carpool and I apologized that we were in fact not going to a pool that afternoon.  She was devastated (and over tired from a fun day at school) and had a little melt down on the drive home but, she quickly got over it.  Still I thought it was pretty cute.  
(lately Daisy loves being in her room...preferably with me.  It blesses me that she feels calm and peaceful in her room.  She goes in to relax, to cook, play with her babies or get into her piggy bank as she is here in this pic. I'll admit that I love her soft pink room too.  It's so feminine and relaxing and I often lounge on the bed with my huge stomach flopped on a pillow so I can play with her. lol)  

All in all it's been a great first week.  Daisy is definitely enjoying school and I am so proud of how far she has come since last year when she started her 3's preschool class.  Tugs on the ol' heart strings to see her getting bigger, smarter, taller....I just love her at this age.  4 is so much work energy wise but, the relationship I have with my daughter at 4 is priceless.  So thankful for my little girl and all that God has taught me about life and love through her. 
I love you to pieces my sweet, thoughtful, silly, creative, sensitive, beautiful, Daisy Love!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Our California Visit In Review Part 1

We aren't able to get out to California as often as we would like unfortunately. It costs too much to buy three tickets and get a rental car etc. and it's a really big trip to make with a kiddo.  We have so many people to visit in such a short amount of time and it can feel a bit like being stuck in a blender on the fastest speed and not being turned off until we get back into our own beds two weeks later.  Truth. HAHA...I know all of you that have to make big trips to see a bunch of family and friends out of state know exactly what I am talking about.  In spite of the fact that it is quite exhausting, it is also wonderful to see everyone and catch up after being away for so long.  We hadn't been in CA for two years so I was definitely eager to see everyone!  

This trip was spurred on because my brother was getting married (woohoo!) and my sister and her hubby were graduating college.  It was a trip full of celebration and I am so happy for my siblings and so thankful that I got to be a part of those special events in their lives.  

Daisy was a total champ overall.  She got into a routine of watching movies on each of our 3+ hour car rides (which we had a ton of).  She was a good sleeper for the most and she kept up with our extremely busy days and late nights.  I will say that this was by far the easiest trip we have taken with her.  The older kiddos get, the easier traveling gets. 

I was about 14 or so weeks pregnant when we traveled and thankfully this pregnancy has been much kinder than my first so I managed to keep up with everyone.  I was absolutely fatigued but, the business  distracted me from it.  I think I felt it when I got back home:). lol  

Anyways, it was a good trip and SO good to see the faces of the people we love and Daisy loved all of the attention, presents and hugs.  Till next time California. 

The first place we stopped after landing was of course In N Out.  It's almost painful for me to post this picture because I am so hungry...and pregnant and I would do just about anything to get one of these burgers into my stomach...right now.  Oh my golly...drooling over here while I blog.  I'm also going to confess that Daisy wasn't too fond of her burger and being the pregnant woman that I am...I finished her burger was a big calorie day for me but, I have no regrets.  Best food ever. :) 

After landing in California were beyond exhausted.  We had been up since 3 AM and had gone to bed after 11PM and the flight was long and uncomfortable.  We couldn't wait to take a nap at our friend's house when we arrived! lol  It was so great to see our Morris friends and stay in their cozy home.  Thank you Elissa and Mike! 
We arrived Friday afternoon and the wedding festivities and family visits with family from all over the country and out of country as well began first thing Saturday morning. The very busy weekend took off!  First we stopped at the hotels where everyone was staying and we hung out briefly while they finished getting ready to go.  I got to see my sister Anna who I hadn't seen in two years!! I was overjoyed to see was Daisy as you can tell.  Auntie Anna is such an amazing auntie...and I'm not just saying that.  She lavished so much love and attention on Daisy every time they saw each other.  It blessed my momma heart so much.  Here Daisy is getting into Anna's makeup bag.  Happy girl:)
And I got to see my momma!!  They were both pretty smitten:)
And then we headed over to the site where the wedding rehearsal and wedding were being held.  We met up with a bunch of family and checked out the location.  It was a darling park and the weather was warm but, perfect for an outdoor wedding.  I got to see lots of family that I haven't seen in ages.  Aunts, Uncles, cousins, Great Aunts and Uncles, friends etc.  I do love that weddings bring so many people together into one setting.  It's a treat to see so many familiar faces all at once especially knowing how little we get to see everyone now.  Later that afternoon we headed to the rehearsal dinner for my brother and his then fiance Sasha.  It was held at a beautiful home.  The food was delicious and the decor was lovely.  

I was especially happy to get a picture with all of my siblings.  It's been a few years since we have gotten one and this is one that I actually like:).  I was so happy for my bro! 
and a nice pic with my seesters whom I wuv so much.
A picture with my soon to be sis-in-law, Sasha.  She's such a lovely gal inside and out.  So happy she chose my bro! 

The table decorations were so pretty.  It was such a classic and slightly vintage wedding.  Loved the pearls and peonies. 
We got home late Saturday night from the rehearsal dinner and crashed shortly after.  The time change was really killing me more than usual this trip but, we managed to chug through the busy festivities and our friends were such wonderful hosts with our constant coming and going.  Sunday morning we headed out bright for another hour trek to meet the family and help with wedding set up.  We helped set up and decorate the tables and displays.  It was fun to help with my family and my soon to be sister-in-law's family and friends.  Such a lovely California day!
 Then it was time to get ourselves ready.  I helped Anna with her hair and make-up which makes me feel special since neither thing am I really skilled at but, I enjoy making other people feel pretty:).  We Hart girls marveled at the fact that we all wore mint in some form or another and not a single one of us planned or orchestrated our outfits.  I love when that happens. I had not intended to buy a dress for the wedding but, as the time drew near I realized that I was looking much more pregnant and I hated how I looked in all of my old dresses.  I looked everywhere for a dress...I mean everywhere and had absolutely no luck.  The day before the wedding I ran into a cheapo store with only a few minutes to spare.  Saw my dress hanging in the front display and knew it was for me.  Love when that happens too:). It was comfy for my puffy stomach and classy enough for the wedding. Win Win.
Daisy loved being held anyone and everyone and Auntie Anna definitely held her the most.  See how they match too! Anna looked so beautiful and Daisy looked so cute:).
My bro looking sharp and waiting for his lovely bride to walk down the aisle.  Loved his suit and shoes. So classy.  I have more pictures on my DSLR camera that I need to download that show my bro crying as his bride walked down the aisle to him.  Seeing him cry over his beautiful bride made me and all the women in my family giggle and cry with him.  Ahhhhh love.
The girls dresses were so pretty and elegant. 
I really enjoyed my brother's wedding so much.  The weather was perfect and the setting was beautiful.  The people in attendance were wonderful and friendly and everyone had a great time.  It was a blessed day for my bro.
and it is official folks.  My bro is married! Look at the sweet couple all glowing and stuff:).
I adore this picture.  A gorgeous beaming bride and a handsome, funny groom.  Good times.
This isn't my better quality family pic but, it's good enough to get an idea.  Awesome to see our family growing once again...and soon by one more when our son joins our mix this December! Woohoo!
Then began the hour or so of family selfies and other silly, happy captures.  I hadn't seen everyone in so long and I came to California, determined to capture some updated images with the people that I love.  Daisy is the queen of silly faces. She was such a champ all day at the wedding even if the time change was screwing us all up.
With my bestest friend and Momma.
water break!
Pregnant with my cousin Toni and this is her first kiddo.  So excited for her!  We are both having boys and she is due just a couple of weeks before me.  Neato!
Cheesing with Toni and Mike
Finally united with my cousins and sisters and it felt so good. I missed these girls so much.  We all grew up just minutes from each other.  Celebrated every birthday, holiday and everything in between together for well over 20 years of my life.  It was so good to see you girls!
Daisy is so loved by her Auntie Becca...and everyone in the family for that matter.  She is a blessed little gal.
With my cousin Jess who we call Auntie Jessie since she just seems like more of an Aunt to Daisy:).  She and her hubby Mike, spoil Daisy like crazy:).
Being silly with my cousins Jessie and Courtney.  She loves them and she loved all the attention:).
"Uncle" Mike and Daisy.  Mike is so awesome.  Kiddos didn't attend the wedding ceremony so Mike took Daisy and his daughter Kennedy so that we could enjoy the ceremony and know that she was in good hands.  He asked her what she wanted to do and she said she wanted water and an ice cream so he took her to do just that.  Lucky girl:).  Thanks so much for looking out for her Mike!
Jumping off the log and into Courtney's arms over and over.  She had a blast.  I wish I had Courtney's energy...oh and Daisys. lol
Me and my lovely cousin Courtney.  We are only four months apart and we've been buds since we were in diapers:).  So many great memories with this gal!
With my beautiful sisters.  me, Anna and Becca.  Anna just turned 20 this week! Happy Birthday again Anna.  She is finishing up college and has been doing such a great job being a nanny and holding a job.  Becca just graduated with her BA! I'm so proud of her and I'm thinking kiddos might be in the near future for her.  We shall see.  Anyways, I love my seesters and I'm so happy to see them doing so well.  Oh and have I mentioned that I have become the shortest Hart girl?  I never saw it coming.  I'm 5'8 mind you...but, I'm the shortest.  Lame.  Oldest and shortest.  Awesome.
Daisy with her cousin Kennedy.  Kennedy just turned one and oh my golly she is a cutie pie.  Wish we lived closer so I could squeeze her more often.  She reminds me of Daisy in many ways.  So many facial expressions, giant smiles and overall a happy, silly little girl. Miss you K!
Daisy has never attended a wedding and I was excited for to be able to boogie on the dance floor with us.  She was much more timid than I expected and really didn't want to dance much at all but, we all still had a great time...don't mind me...I never said I was good at dancing, just that I enjoy it:).
I tried to teach her a few simple moves but, she was stiff as a board.  It was quite amusing actually.  She usually loves dancing! I think she just thought we were all acting quite strange for a bunch of grown ups:). 
That was all I got of the wedding on my iphone.  I did take some pictures on my DSLR that I will share in a separate post but, for the most part I just really wanted to enjoy my time with family and friends and pictures weren't on my mind much at all.  It was a lovely wedding and I loved being able to celebrate with my bro and his new wife. 

Daisy loved playing in the Morris boy's play room.  Elissa was playing a board game with the kiddos.  It was such a blessing to have a place to stay while we were in San Diego for the wedding and it was so great to see our good friends even if we were in and out the entire time:).
we really only had one day to hang out with the Morris fam after all the wedding helping and festivities.  So we headed out to explore the area a bit and we had a really lovely day. Daisy likes to stop at every fountain she passes.  I just like this shot because I was able to get all four kiddos in it.  That is a rare feat!
I sometimes forget how beautiful the tropical flowers of the west coast are.  The east coast is bursting with blooms but, the west coast has colors and flowers that I have never seen.  I loved this tree! So vibrant.
Then we went to Coronado Beach but, just briefly as it was rather chilly and we didn't bring our beach attire.  Daisy was so excited to be at the beach can't you tell:)
I got a nice pic with my bestie, Elissa.  Been friends with this gal for over 10 years now and boy we've been through a lot of life changes together.  I was about 14 or so weeks preggo here.  Feeling decent too which was a blessing.
After we left the lovely beach we started our trek back into town to get some lunch. 
I told you that Daisy has to stop at every fountain:)  I absolutely loved downtown Coranado.  It was SO pretty and I really felt like I was on a tropical island having a vacation...for about an hour:).
If you are from the west coast and you had to move away as we did I think you would agree that Mexican food is something you miss terribly.  Whenever we fly back to CA for a visit, Mexican food is one of the first things we eat and we try to eat a lot of it while we can.  So I took a picture of my food because CA Mexican food pictures make me happy:). 
and I took a picture of all of us enjoying our CA Mexican food together.  I absolutely loved the outdoor patio at this restaurant.  It was another tropical experience for me and I was in Heaven. The temperature was perfect and the breeze was lovely.  I wanna go back! 
After spending the first half of our free day in the Coronado area we headed back to the Morris house to get in an afternoon swim.  They have the most beautiful community pools!
Before we knew it the day was over and the next morning we began our long drive up to see my parents in the mountains.  We call their home a place of rest because they live in a small town that doesn't have much hustle and bustle so we are forced (by choice) a very good way to breathe and relax for a few days when we visit them...which is precisely what we need when we have our super crazy, busy California visits.  It's a place where this tired momma finally gets a little break because my Mom/Dad and whoever is around take over my kid for a bit here and there.  My mom wanted to have things for Daisy to do which helps so much so that I am not always having to entertain her.  She pulled out her old doll house, toys, books and even got a quad for Daisy to ride (and future grand kiddos).  I was really nervous about Daisy riding it at first but, she was a dare devil and had the thing mastered in no time.  It was all that she wanted to do for most of our visit.
We were just a tad worried that she would tip the quad over so we took turns walking around with her while she rode.  I would like to have my own quad to ride next to her, k Mom:) lol  It was pretty funny at one point because my Dad got on his drive on mower so that he could ride around with Daisy.  It was adorable to see my Dad cruising all over behind Daisy on his mower.  Such a sweet Papa.
We played with my mom's dog Mate a bit to pass the time.  Daisy especially enjoyed throwing him a toy.  This picture is a great action capture if I do say so:)  It's so pretty and peaceful in the mountains lemme tell yah.
and we spent a good amount of down time in my Mom's room.  Daisy loves to get into every collection, jar, jewelry box, drawer etc.  My mom is great about letting her explore things to keep her occupied:).  Here they are making necklaces.  And in other random news I just have to say that I love my Mom's cozy, cottage room.  It's simple and sweet and such a lovely room to hang out in.  I actually hope to create a similar color scheme and feel in my master bedroom someday.
And Daisy enjoyed playing with my sister's old horse collection. 
Our time of mountain rest was brief but, wonderful and before we knew it we were heading to San Louis Obispo for my sister Becca and her hubby's graduation from SLO.  She got her BA in English and he got a Masters in Computer engineering...I think? I'm so proud of them.  They juggled full time school, jobs, bills and marriage for several years and they are now both graduates.  I'm a proud sister! 
We snapped a few pics before graduation. I don't think any of us were totally ready for this pic but, it's the only one I got so yah:)
Auntie Anna loves her silly Daisy so much
And then we were off to Becca's ceremony on Saturday.  Toni graduated on Sunday.  All the family and friends joined us and we enjoyed a very lovely, busy two days of graduation festivities.  I snapped a pic of my sis waiting in her graduation line.  Being silly of course:). 
after I got in a pic with her and my other lovely seester, Anna:).